How to hone the best strategies to finally meet your perfect love match

February 14th, 2023 9:30 AM

Research tells us that we are more likely to be in a relationship with someone like us – ‘birds of a feather’ rather than ‘opposites attracting.’ (Photo: Shutterstock)

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For St Valentine’s Day, coaching psychologist Dr Mike Murphy, from Skibbereen, advises on how to attract your most ideal partner and maintain that relationship.

Know what you want in a partner

This may sound obvious, but so often people find themselves with someone who isn’t for them and never was. Research tells us that we are more likely to be in a relationship with someone like us – ‘birds of a feather’ rather than ‘opposites attracting.’ 

This phenomenon is termed ‘assortative mating’, and it makes perfect sense. 

So really, consider who you are, what’s important to you – your values are crucial here. Decide what kind of person will make you happy and don’t sell yourself short.

Go to where they are

Or at least where they are likely to be. ‘Meeting someone’ involves actually meeting them! So consider knowing the kind of person you want, where might you find them? A book club? A sports club? An activist group? Whether you’d like to make friends or find someone special, this is a good approach

And don’t be afraid of non-traditional routes like dating apps! It might not be how we had expected to meet people, but society has changed in many ways. With long commutes, irregular work hours, extensive home entertainment options, people actually meet less and less. Real or virtual, go to where the people are. Just remain clear in what you want.

Be yourself

From the outset. This ties in with the first point – know what you want, which requires knowing who you are. 

Many people present an inaccurate picture of themselves to make, or keep, someone interested. This really isn’t sustainable - at most you’ll be in a relationship which is unfulfilling and unsatisfying. You deserve better.

Nurture your relationship

Remember that a relationship isn’t the people in it – it exists between people, and is always being negotiated and renegotiated. Together or separately, the people will exist anyway! 

Relationships need to be tended, fostered – make time for one another, with one another. Say what you feel and think, but also make space and time to listen to what the other feels and thinks (indeed, this is a very good way of getting to know somebody in the very early stages of a relationship, or even before a relationship begins – we rarely meet somebody who seems genuinely interested in what we have to say and what we think; it is a very attractive feature of a person). People change with time, and the relationship must change with it or it will wither.

Know what type of relationship you want

We’re all different. Just because the ideal we learned growing up is the nuclear family doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Be open to the possibility you want something different - and be open about wanting it. It’s best to be clear early on about what you want and need.

Ultimately, the big question for all of us is - do we deserve happiness? The answer is yes! So the big task is to decide what will make you happy, and go out there and find it.

• Dr Mike Murphy CPsychol is co-director of the MA in applied psychology (positive & coaching psychology and chair, school of applied psychology ethics committee, UCC.

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